Find out how the Australian Government is monitoring and responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Australian Government is increasing its financial support for those coping with the economic effects of Coronavirus.
We have outlined some of the current measures here, but for authoritative information, please visit:
For health information, we recommend:
Social distancing and financial pressures can have a very personal impact. The following services can provide free support during these difficult times:
The Federal Government has launched a smartphone app called COVIDSafe to assist health authorities with contact tracing in the event of an unknown community transmission. The app records those situations where you are within 1.5m of another person for 15 minutes or more – giving rise to a risk of transmission – and makes that data available for upload with your consent if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have come into contact with a person with COVID-19. It is available for both Apple and Android systems. More information about the app is available here.
While additional financial support is being announced regularly, the following is the main support now available.
The Federal Government will pay a flat $1500 to businesses every fortnight for every casual employee of more than 12 months’ tenure, and every part- and full-time employee recorded at 1 March. Businesses and sole traders can apply via the Australian Taxation Office where their turnover has fallen 30% or more (or 50% for businesses with turnovers of more than $1 billion) as a result of COVID-19.
This is an alternative to standing down employees and forcing them to seek social security benefits through Centrelink. The $1500 payment will be administered through the ATO’s One Touch Payroll System, and is a flat amount regardless of the employee's pay or workforce status.
Many eligibility requirements for social security have been relaxed or suspended to better support the many more people applying. Payments have also been increased by $550 a fortnight for the next six months for those receiving study support, the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.
These increases are to be paid from 27 April. For more information please refer to the Treasury Fact Sheet - Income Support for Individuals.
Further support is being provided for those on the Age Pension, Veteran Gold Card holders, those on the Veteran Service Pension and a wide range of other benefits. A $750 payment will be made on 13 July 2020 in addition to a payment made in March based on eligibility at the time.
The Treasury Fact Sheet - Payments to Support Households lists eligibility for the payments and details of payments.
Those on a pension will also gain additional relief with a reduction in deeming rates to 0.25%. The upper deeming rate will continue at 2.25%.
More information has been provided in this Treasury Fact Sheet - Providing Support for Retirees to Manage Market Volatility.
If you are unemployed, eligible to receive job seeker benefits or were made redundant or had your working hours reduced by at least 20%, you will be able to apply to withdraw $10,000 from your superannuation before the end of the financial year on June 30. The payment will be tax-free and will not affect Centrelink or Veterans' Affairs payments.
You will also be able to withdraw a further $10,000 next financial year.
Sole traders are also eligible if they can show their business was suspended or turnover fell by 20% or more.
You will need to apply from early April to the Australian Taxation Office through the myGov website at www.my.gov.au. If you wish for more information please review The Government Fact Sheet - Early Access to Super.
The government Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080 is operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for medical information on COVID-19.
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